Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Is OutdoorMindset a beneficial organization?

An obvious YES is the answer to the title question! And before anyone gets offended by my title, let me explain. It was clear from the beginning that the general purpose of OutdoorMindset would be to focus on connecting like-minded people with a passion for living big, overcoming obstacles, and being active outside. During some of the early stages of development it was brought to our attention by our non-profit gurus (Jake and Jeanie) that just because we felt strongly about our vision and the purpose of OutdoorMindset, the government was going to need some proof that OM would help. In other words, we had to define our “Need”.
This has been a very important aspect of our development and we have all worked really hard to back up our vision with scholarly research. We broke down the research into 3 important aspects of OM -physical activity, social connections, and Internet use. As you can imagine there is a plethora of information and research out there on these topics, so as we narrow down our findings, I’ll keep the information coming.
To no surprise at all, we were able to find support in the articles that physical activity is beneficial to health. To take that common known fact further we dug a little deeper. Research studies have also found that people who engage in physical activity are more likely to have hopeful feelings about their future and reach goals they have set. Studies have also found that physical activity not only improved physical health but also improved mental health shown by a more positive attitude and confidence in oneself.
In another study the effects of Green exercise were evaluated. That study defines green exercise as any activity done in the presence of nature. Green exercise improves self-esteem and mood, as well as increases positive long-term and short-term health benefits. Green exercise is exactly what OM is all about!
Many studies have found that participants who engage in exercise on a regular basis have a higher health related quality of life and show a slower decline in general quality of life. In relation to mental health, it has been shown over and over again that exercise and physical activity are related to lower levels of depression. Engaging in physical activity increases the amount of neurotransmitters, monoamines and endorphins, i.e. dopamine and serotonin, being released from the brain. These neurotransmitters are related to positive feelings and the pleasure senses of our brain, thus increasing positive mental health.
As you can see from our research findings, there is definitely a positive relationship between physical activity and both physical and mental health. Being active is a main focus of OutdoorMindset so we are thrilled to have the information to back us up in that area. Being a research nerd who gets excited about reading small black and white print, I am beyond ecstatic from our outcomes thus far and I can’t wait to explore the other topics. More good news to come!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

"Movement is a medicine for creating change in a person's physical, emotional, and mental states." ~Carol Welch

To be honest, I have no idea who Carol Welch is, but I think her quote represents well the spirit at last Sunday’s Strides for Epilepsy event. With over 2,000 people registered for the 5K run/walk, City Park in Denver buzzed with energy despite the almost constant downpour. People diagnosed with epilepsy and their friends, family, and health care providers came together to not only support the efforts of Epilepsy Foundation – Colorado, but to laugh together and feed the mind, body and soul through movement.

Outdoor Mindset is grateful for the opportunity (thank you, thank you Epilepsy Foundation-Colorado and Gail Pundsack) to outreach to folks at the event. After all – we believe in connecting people through a bond of shared diagnosis and outdoor adventure. Lucky for us, the cold, wet weather did not deter those supporting Epilepsy Foundation-Colorado.
We chatted with lots of people, made plenty of friends, gave away over 500 stickers and business cards, and cheered on our own Team OM (the brave Kellyn Glynn and Kyle Martin).

According to http://www.epilepsycolorado.org, epilepsy affects people of all ages and races, and represents one percent of the population in this state—over 43,000 people. Three million people in this country and 50 million people worldwide have epilepsy. While epilepsy is not the only neurological diagnosis that Outdoor Mindset embraces, it certainly hits home with many of our friends and family members.

Our first debut to the public went well and we look forward to many more outreach and partnership opportunities. Please let us know on Facebook if you met us at the Strides for Epilepsy event. We want to hear from everyone as we build our online community and shape the programs of Outdoor Mindset. Summer will officially begin soon and we hope to see you out on the trails, on the water or wherever adventure may take you. Keep on movin’ and may the outdoors be your medicine!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Connecting to Connect

On Monday afternoon I was lucky enough to meet Rebekah Koenigbauer, director of marketing for First Descents. We enjoyed some patio time and shared tips on marketing for rapidly growing non-profit organizations.

First Descents is committed to curing young adults of the emotional effects of cancer and empowering them to regain control of their lives by experiencing whitewater kayaking and other challenging adventure sports in a safe, fun and supportive environment. This inspires us at Outdoor Mindset because we hope to accomplish the same - We unite and inspire people affected by neurological challenges to live big through a common passion for outdoor adventure.

Rebekah and I discussed the possibilty of having a First Descents past-participant write for our blog or serve as a mentor in our program. To us, this would be huge. In a sense, our organization is connecting to other organizations in order to connect people affected by neurological challenges with one another.

Learn more about First Descents.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Check Us Out at Strides for Epilepsy in Denver!!

Come check us out at the Annual Strides for Epilepsy on Sunday June 13 sponsored by the National Epilepsy Foundation, Colorado chapter. It kicks off at 8:30 am at City Park in Denver. Details can be found at: http://www.epilepsycolorado.org/

We're psyched at the opportunity to have a presence at such a big event. Lots of fun for a great cause! Special thanks go out to Peret and Gail at the foundation for hosting us!!

We're new, we're bold, and we want you involved in our community of catalysts that LIVE BIG with neurological diagnosis! Stop by our table at the event to learn more about us, and our gang (which is getting bigger and bigger every day). We hope to see you there.